Tallahassee, FL — Since the start of Pride Month, many people of the LGBTQ+ community are seen marching down the streets proudly showcasing their flag and confidently wearing its colors.
However, for some queer activists, this prideful activity seems to be a challenge.
Many tragic events have happened over the past couple of years that make people concerned for their safety. Not only are people undergoing a deathly pandemic, there have been more than 250 mass shootings this year with little-to-no laws put in place to create change.
With the recent incident of 31 Patriot Front members in masks, riot gear found packed in a U-Haul near a pride event, many people in the LGBTQ+ community worry that another attack may be upon them.
Chazriq Clarke, a recent graduate of Florida A&M University and LGBTQ+ activist, said how he will not be attending Pride events this year due to the pandemic and shootings.
“Although Pride Month should be a month filled with celebrating the struggles and strength of the LGBTQ+ community, I know some people will have another agenda to push at the same time,” he said. “Hopefully one year, I’ll be able to truly enjoy this month to the fullest capacity of what it is meant to be.”
Clarke said how Pride Month has helped him to understand more of who he is and who he desires to be. He is able to enjoy everything “from a distance” in his home or on social media.
“To me, Pride Month means a lot of different things like visibility, appreciation, and freedom to say the least,” he said. “With Pride events around the country, which help give us the space to truly enjoy our month such as festivals and other great things, it truly feels like a whole new world for us.”
Justice Horn, a LGBTQ+ student activist who attended Northern State University in South Dakota, went to Pride events in his home state Missouri. He shared his gratitude to those who attended and supported the community.
“Like so many who attended this weekend, I’m so hopeful for the future of our community. I’m also eternally grateful for those who sacrificed so much for us to be here,” he wrote an Instagram post.
Days later, Grain Valley Schools — a school district in Horn’s hometown, Blue Springs, Missouri — canceled all its school’s activities due to a mass shootout threat the district received.
Horn was disappointed in this news and said “we shouldn’t accept any of this.”
“I’m thankful no one was hurt, but we shouldn’t have to live like this,” Horn wrote in a letter. “None of this is normal and none of us should act like this is normal. This is our community and we have the ability to make our future what we want it [to be].”
Although these incidents among many others have happened, the LGBTQ+ community continues to remain confident and prideful, not letting anything stop their month-long celebration.
“May we continue to move forward collectively as one community into many more, even better days ahead,” Horn wrote on an Instagram post.